Nidhi Kumari, 8, daughter of a rickshaw puller, living in slum area under Chitkohra flyover always wished to study in school like other students. She was popular in the slum area for her wit as compared to other kids of her age, but her dream to attend school was unfulfilled.
However, it was something like a divine intervention when students of Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, Patna campus (BIT-P), proposed to sponsor her school fees and got her admitted to class 1 in Kendriya Vidyalaya, Bailey Road, in 2016. The students are doing the philanthropic work through a group named ‘Nav Umeed’, formed in 2011.
Now, her dreams have got wings and she is doing quite well in her studies, thanks to Nav Umeed that collects money and donates it to underprivileged kids.
Nidhi is not the lone beneficiary. The group is presently sponsoring education of 10 underprivileged children. They have been admitted to schools like the Kendriya Vidyalaya, DAV BSEB, Gardanibagh High School, Amaltola Girls High School and other educational institutions.
The idea of Nav Umeed was born when Kumar Harsh, a student of B Tech (ECE) of 2011 batch, saw two slum children at Ashiana Nagar locality in Patna, performing well in institution’s national service scheme (NSS), a social service programme for educational reform. The main objective of the NSS programme is to develop healthy contacts between the students and teachers, on the one hand, and establishing a constructive linkage between the campus and the community, on the other hand.
Harsh found that the kids despite being talented could not go to school due to monetary crisis. He talked to the kids and found them very intelligent and curious to study. This disturbed Harsh for a while and he along with his friends Kumar Shivam, Vikas Ranjan and others decided to provide them a scholarship worth Rs 10,000. This laid the foundation of a group in 2011, which was later converted into a society in 2015 and named ‘Nav Umeed’.
“Initially we faced some problems, like arranging funds for the kids. We convinced our friends and juniors to donate Rs 100 every month or Rs 1,000 annually for the kids. Many of them agreed. This is how ‘Nav Umeed’ was born,” said Harsh, who at present works in Bengaluru. He added that convincing parents of the kids was the next biggest problem. “Not all parents in slums wanted their kids to study. However, we convinced them. As soon as our team got information about such talented kids, they rushed to them,” said Harsh.
The founders have passed out from BIT-P and to continue the tradition of benevolence they have passed the baton to their juniors who continue it with dedication.
MN Saquib, a fourth year architect student said, “We are proud to be a part of Nav Umeed. It gives us immense pleasure to see those kids smiling and doing well in schools. Apart from schooling, ten core members of the group every week meet the kids and take tuition classes for their improvement. We even attend parent-teacher meeting in their schools to check their performance.”